What would you do if you found a woven spruce hat in a retreating glacier? For master weaver Delores Churchill, it was a chance to connect the past to her present. The National Museum of Natural History will host a screening of “Tracing Roots: Delores Churchill and the Hat of the Long Ago Person Found” on October 28th. Please join us as we accompany her on a journey into the past to discover the origins of this unique artifact and what it means to the Haida culture.
Delores Churchill is a Haida elder from Ketchikan, Alaska who has devoted much of her life to mastering the craft of weaving and preserving her cultural heritage. As a child, she was forced to leave home and attend a residential school. While there, she was not allowed to speak her native language or adhere to her tribe’s cultural practices. Despite this, Delores remembered her language and tradition and is a strong proponent of keeping traditional language and culture alive. She learned to weave from her mother Selina Peratrovich, a respected weaver in her own right, who taught Delores everything she knew. Haida weaving uses cedar bark and spruce roots to create tightly woven baskets and hats. The weaving is so tight as to be waterproof. Traditionally only females were allowed to weave in Haida culture but males are now learning the craft as well. Delores is certain that passing the knowledge down through classes and traditional channels will help keep the Haida weaving tradition alive and ensure that Native art is viewed as part of the modern world, not just as museum artifacts.
This program on October 28th is free and open to the public. The film screening begins at 6:15 in Q?rius Theater at the National Museum of Natural History. After the screening, there will be a discussion session with Delores Churchill and producer/director Ellen Frankenstein where we welcome your questions, as well as a weaving demonstration. Earlier in the day, Delores will demonstrate her weaving in NMNH’s Q?rius Education Center.
Please RSVP for this event here